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Fake It Until You Make It Functional Rustic Approach

I am learning a lot of DIY lessons today – and I’m not thrilled about it. It is a creative day so I am coming up with new project ideas and trouble shooting problems on previous projects. So far, each project I have focused on has gotten worse. Ugh.

It started with pop cans. I have many ideas for crafts I can make out of  pop cans but today I was specifically trying to make a pumpkin. I still feel good about the concept however, executing it is proving harder than I’d like.

 

This is a very, very rough draft. The plan is three cans on the bottom, four in the middle and two one top. The idea is that once the cans are properly attached to each other and painted orange it will look like a pumpkin. The tops of the cans will be removed and then the back side becomes 9 little storage areas.

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It keeps falling apart when I try to assemble it though. Gluing it is problematic because the points of contact for the cans is actually quite narrow. It is harder to glue round objects together than I anticipated. Ha. Needless to say, it is not going well and I am growing more and more frustrated – not deterred – just frustrated.

I will not let this hiccup sabotage the whole day. When I am frustrated with a project the most effective solution for me is to take a break. At first the break was just going for a walk and then returning to the project. When I returned though, I was having the same problems. (I can’t imagine why doing the exact thing I did before did not illicit a different result. Ha.)

Obviously taking a break did not fix my problem and I am still having difficulty focusing on the issue at hand. Trying to fix something while I’m already very irritated usually ends up in more things going wrong. So, instead of trying to problem solve when upset – I changed projects.

 

You may recall a recent post where I discussed repurposing a shutter I found. I love this project because it reminds me of all the Pinterest projects I looked at for years and convinced myself I did not have the talent to create.

The pictures do not show it very well, but the edges of the black chalk board and the white border are not straight. Personally I like the rough edges but, my husband pointed out, and I’m inclined to agree, people paying me money for it will expect straight lines.

So, after abandoning the pop can pumpkin project I turned to touching up the shutter chalk board. I used white paint to touch up the framing and put painters tape on the chalkboard part to protect it from drips.

Well….

Paint Peeling

After everything was dry and I removed the painters tape – the paint came off too. Uh Oh. This picture does not show it but, the paint is coming off in sheets. I now need to remove all the paint and start over.

Ugh.

This really is not that big of a problem. It is very fixable. Fixable problems are just new goals. The blow to my ego and motivation is because of the deadline I imposed on myself before I started. The plan was to do touch ups this morning and then head to Countryside Craft & Antique Mall so it can be sold. This is exactly the kind of eye catching item that will draw people in to the store display.

What I am inclined to do is curl up in a ball and throw an elaborate pity party in my mind. Just as I was preparing for my ‘party’ I remembered that I write a blog based on the premise of sharing my bad days and how I get through them in order to achieve my goal. A ‘pity party’ is not a solution.

You are going to want to give up. Don't.
You are going to want to give up. Don’t.

Fortunately for me I collect Quotes so I have a huge resource of positive words I can review to help me refocus my thoughts.

 

I’ve read my quotes and regained my motivation. I am ready to go! Took apart a shipping pallet, cut some boards and sanded them smooth. A true wood working day! Makes me feel very productive.

I enjoy building practical items like coat/towel racks and toilet paper holders. I like things to be functional. (shocking!) Creating something functional and pretty is the dream and provides a huge boost to my self confidence when I achieve it. With this in mind I am working on a coat rack today with the boards I prepped.

 

The boards are securely attached (I’ve had some problems with this recently so I am very pleased that I got it right the first time.). I even found cool items to repurpose as the hooks – wood post insulators for the electric fence. Very rustic. Very functional.

One might think that after reading my quotes and successfully attaching the boards that I would be feeling on top of the world. No. I am overwhelmed with doubt. I’m feeling unlucky today so I fear that when I go to paint this coat rack I will mess that project up too.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.
Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

That bring us to now. I was really hoping that writing this post would give me the boost of motivation I am looking for. It usually does. Normally when I write out my
‘problem’ I end up finding the solution.

.

.

.

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It’s been about 20 minutes since I wrote what you see above. In that time I wandered around aimlessly and dwelled on how I am allowing fear to dictate my day. Woe is me.

Understand that the universe is giving you challenges to help you to become...
Understand that the universe is giving you challenges to help you to become the greatest version of yourself. 

Then I had a realization. “Understand that the universe is giving you challenges to help you to become the greatest version of yourself”. Although my goal for the day was to build something, the universe has a different goal. I am realizing that my purpose today is to share my struggle.

It has been awhile since I wrote about overcoming the emotional/psychological obstacles I encounter as I start my own business. I haven’t been sharing those stories because I have not been thinking about them. It’s not that I was staying positive but rather that I was in denial.

Instead of acknowledging the doubts, fears and failures I was experiencing I pretended I did not have them. I pushed through and just did my job. That approach is effective to a point. It is the ‘fake it til you make it’ approach. However, faking it is not facing it.

And that lesson is what the day is about. The obstacles that came up today are really small issues. These are not things that usually get in my way. To the contrary, I normally become more determined and inspired when things go ‘wrong’ in the creative process. The fact that I am having such a strong reaction to such a small trigger is what needs to be addressed. The universe provided me with situations today that reminded me where my focus needs to be.

You cant change what you refuse to confront
You can’t change what you refuse to confront.

Lesson of the Day: Faking it is not facing it.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

Wooden Thank You Card PINK

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

 

 

 

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Troubleshooting the New Display Cart for Functional Rustic

Today is one of those work days that is both fun and frustrating. I am signing up for craft shows and am trying to work out how my new display cart will fit in the various sized booths at the different events.

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Plan to use this bakery cart we got at a garage sale as the center piece for all my items at craft shows.

I just got the wagon and am so excited about it. Picked it up at a garage sale for only $75!! (Everything is better when it’s on sale.) Isn’t it pretty? Doesn’t it look both Functional AND Rustic? It is light weight and rolls very easily. I really could not think of a better craft show display for my items than a functioning bakery cart/wagon.

Adding to the excitement of the cart, I adore the people we bought it from. She is a teacher and he is a social worker. Just like me and Dave (I’m the social worker and my husband is the teacher)! What are the odds of that happening? AND…I recently lost a bunch of weight and needed new clothes on a budget – her clothes fit me perfectly! It is always an added treat when a purchase comes with a memorable story.

The cart barely fits into the bed of the truck but it does fit and it was not hard to get it up into the bed. Ratchet straps worked great to keep it secure and I will find a large tarp to protect it from the Michigan weather during transport. Unloading the cart is simple because of how light it is and the fact that it rolls. Mostly though, it will make transporting my items into the show so much easier. Everything about this cart is amazing.

(The fact that it rolls was very convenient today. Just as I finished taking the video and pictures it started to rain. With only one hand I was able to lift and push it into the garage in seconds and without anything falling off!)

Today was the first day I really took the time to play with the cart. This is the fun part. Most of my inventory is in store at Countryside Craft & Antique Mall but I do have enough currently on hand to see how items will fit on my new cart. Also, when I build my new items for the upcoming shows I can design them with the display cart in mind.

KIMG2792
Front view of the new Functional Rustic display cart with my creations on it.

Setting everything up and admiring my handy work is a fun way to spend my morning. I often feel like I have not built enough or have not come up with a wide enough variety of items for Functional Rustic but, as I try to fit everything on the cart I am provided with tangible evidence of my hard work.

It is a very proud feeling. Most of the creations I built were done so as a way to cope with the stressors of life. These things only exist because I was feeling sad/angry/anxious and needed a way to cope with those feelings. These are the physical manifestations of my coping skills. I am literally displaying my fears and insecurities to the public in the hopes they will give me money so they can take them home with them.

I find it to be an interesting business model.

KIMG2788
Side view of the Functional Rustic cart with my creations and a pallet storage shelf containing chalk boards.
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Functional Rustic cart with my creations and a pallet storage shelf containing chalk boards.
KIMG2790
Back view of the Functional Rustic cart with my creations and a pallet storage shelf containing chalk boards.

My new cart is 8 feet long and 3 feet wide. I have a craft show I am signing up for and the booth size is 10 feet wide and 7 feet deep. Most craft events I know about have booths of 10×10 so my initial plan for the display was for it be facing forward so all the items are visible and people can walk around the whole cart. Like I said though, 8 foot cart – 7 foot space.

I have been staring at the cart and rearranging items for the better part of an hour trying to come up with the best way to utilize my new cart space and properly display my creations. I am finding myself becoming frustrated and was hoping you could help me troubleshoot my project for the day.

I need to sign up for the show ASAP but have concerns that I may need to purchase two booths to accommodate my new cart. I really want to make the cart fit in one booth so as to keep my buy-in costs lower. The event will provide table and chairs to everyone but I don’t want to look like everyone else. In a show full of tables a cart will stand out and draw people in.

I welcome any feed back and advice you are willing to share. Once I am officially signed up for my events I will share the dates and locations so you can mark you calendars and come out and join me. And, obviously, if you want to buy anything you see in the video/pictures let me know. Everything is for sale and shipping is FREE!

Thank you in advance for taking the time to help me out. I started my own business & have no idea what I’m doing so I appreciate all the guidance I can get.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just a blog? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

Mini Chalk Board – Green by Functional Rustic

The Mini Chalk Board by Functional Rustic is the fun and quirky handmade conversation piece you never knew you needed. The mini chalk board is made form repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint/chalkboard paint. Measurements: 19 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in.

$15.00

 

Posted on 21 Comments

Overcoming Doubts Before Opening to the Public – A Functional Rustic Approach

Originally Published April 30, 2018. Updated September 5, 2018.

My business is opening to the public in a few days and I am a whirlwind of emotions.

Overcoming Doubts Before Opening to the Public Title.png
Overcoming Doubts Before Opening to the Public – A Functional Rustic Approach.

I started Functional Rustic about six months ago. I began the business intending to repurpose salvaged wood into furniture and décor and sell it at craft shows. However, winter is a horrible time of year to try to find local craft shows in Michigan.

Realizing the difficulties in selling crafts without a craft show; I started the Functional Rustic website. I took pictures of everything I built and uploaded them to the site. I even set up an online store through Facebook and Etsy.

Welcome Sign.jpg
“Welcome” Wooden Sign by Functional Rustic.

No one was coming to the website, Facebook page or Etsy store. I felt like such a failure during those early days. (It may be only six months ago but it feels like a lifetime.) I researched everything I could find about building an online business.

The basic principle behind promoting a website is to give visitors a reason to come. I chose to start a blog as a way of increasing interest and awareness for Functional Rustic.

The blog idea came at an ideal time for me. First, it was winter in Michigan so it was quite cold outside. Below freezing temperatures are not ideal for wood working and painting. Second, I hurt my elbow and was unable to build anything anyway.

A little background on me: my youth was spent playing travel ice hockey. For that reason, my instinct when I am hurt or injured is to push through and suck it up. I’m not trying to be tough – I’m trying to stay in the game. For instance, I tore my ACL (a ligament in the knee) during a pre-season skate. It was excruciating. Doctors said I would need surgery to repair it. This was my junior year of high school so I was reaching the point where college scouts could talk to me about playing hockey for them. It was the worst possible time for a high school athlete to have an injury. As I said earlier, the doctors said I needed surgery. However, they also said that because the ligament was torn I could not injure the ACL any more than I already had. I interpreted that as meaning that I could still play hockey if I was able to cope with the pain. Long story short – not only did I continue to play that season but we had over 80 games that year, won the State Championship AND the National Championship. I had surgery on my knee the day after we won nationals. That experience though, changed me. It reinforced a very bad habit of not taking care of myself. It also taught me that I can push through a great deal of pain to achieve a goal. The thing is, just because I can do something does not mean I should.

I mention the high pain tolerance because when I hurt my elbow I did not see my doctor. I figured if I simply rested it would get better. Of course I didn’t actually rest it so, a few months later I officially injured the elbow (Medial epicondylitis & right lateral epicondylitis – aka golfers elbow and tennis elbow.)

Now it was time to see a doctor. I couldn’t even move the arm, much less hold anything in my hand. If I’m willing to see a doctor though, then something is very wrong. How did I allow the pain to get so bad?

You were unsure which pain was worse
You were unsure which pain is worse – the shock of what happened or the ache of what never will.

I cried a lot in the week between scheduling my appointment with the doctor and actually seeing him. I wasn’t crying because I was hurt (ok, maybe a few of the tears were from physical pain); I was crying because my dream of starting my own business by creating décor may now not be possible. My stubbornness in seeing a doctor was sabotaging my goals.

I finally saw the doctor and sat sheepishly as he explained all the reasons that waiting to see him could seriously have jeopardized my recovery. He prescribed a couple of anti-inflammatory pain killers and some physical therapy and I was all set. I may have been feeling physically better after following the doctor’s orders but, the impact on my self confidence and hope for Functional Rustic being successful were greatly impacted.

Adding to the fears of running my own business, I have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder). For me IBS/GERD means chronic fatigue, pain and nausea. It also means that there are days when I physically cannot do anything. I have been lucky since I moved to the country that I haven’t had any major episodes, but at anytime I could be out of commission for several days. As the only employee of Functional Rustic, I cant afford to not do anything for my business for a week simply because I feel sick. I need an approach that promotes both physical wellness and business success.

Not one to give up; I changed the focus of Functional Rustic from just an online store to a DIY resource and source for coping with anxiety and depressive symptoms. As much as it was a business strategy, mostly it was a coping mechanism for dealing with my stressors. I posted things on the website that made me happy and made me feel like I am contributing positively to society. I will lead by example.

It was when I started focusing on taking care of me and helping to inspire others with my experiences that Functional Rustic started to take off. When the focus was making money I was miserable and no one came to the website. As soon as I stopped focusing on earning that dollar and instead focused on just sharing positivity and my life lessons, my website went from 100 visitors a month to over 7,000 a month.

I dont want my struggle to make me.png
I don’t want my pain and struggle to make me a victim. I want my battle to make me someone else’s hero.

So, for the past four months I have been building my online presence and increasing awareness for Functional Rustic. I have not thought much about increasing my inventory due to the weather and my injury. However, it is starting to warm outside and my elbow is healed. The time has come to start building again.

I am thrilled to be able to start creating and repurposing again – but I’m also scared. I’m having doubts about my ability to do all of this by myself. Promoting the website, writing blogs and managing social media already take much of my day. That was fine when I was injured and it was snowing, but now I need those hours to build actual products.

Where am I going to find the time to complete everything I need to do? As my success increases so do my responsibilities. I actually wrote a blog about this exact fear here.
That brings us to today. I have been invited to participate in a multi-family garage sale this weekend. I couldn’t be happier about the venue as a location for introducing Functional Rustic to the public.

M15 Garage Sale
M-15 Garage Sale. 60 miles of garage, yard and barn sales.

However, my current inventory is sparse. Everything on the website is everything I have. One of each. Since I have no idea what the public will like and want to buy, I did not build duplicates. I was really hoping that people would be shopping in the online store and I could get an idea of what the public liked. Since I have made no sales in the online store – I have no idea what, if anything, people want.

After I write this post I plan to go to the barn and start building. (hmmm….I wonder if this post is longer than I intended because I am avoiding starting my next task?) I still have no idea what I’m going to build though, and it is definitely stressing me out. I did great when I was focused on sharing and teaching – but building the products is about making money.

I may have a graduate level education – but both of my degrees are in Social Work not business. Social Work is about people – not money. In fact, a social worker’s life is devoted to achieving great things with little-to-no resources or money. Those skills are helpful for starting a business – but less helpful when trying to sell actual items.

Eureka! I figured it out. After writing that last paragraph I read through what I have written so far in this post and found the solution to my problem. (Imagine that, the solution was in front of me all along.)

Sometimes life is about risking everything
Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you.

Right now I am letting fear dictate my actions. Instead of focusing on things I know will make me feel good I am directing my attention to the uncomfortable feelings and negative thoughts I have. What I need to do is change my focus.

www.FunctionalRustic.com is more successful than I ever could have imagined at this stage of the game. I accomplished this success by staying true to my original goal of building the life I want. I want to feel at peace. I want to be healthy. I want to inspire others.

The signs and shelves I create make me happy. I feel proud of myself each time I complete a project. My designs are intentionally simple because the point of them is to inspire others that they too can build something like this for themselves. I want people to see what I build and say, “I could build that.”.

I am confident that if I stay true to the vision of inspiring others with what I create then the money part will work itself out.

Functional Rustic Product Collage
Whether I am repurposing a pop can into a plant marker, bending a fork into a business card holder or salvaging discarded pallet wood and creating rustic home décor – there is no shortage of possibilities for the Functional Rustic inventory.

Through sharing my story I intend to demonstrate to others that success can still be achieved even if you are feeling overwhelmed. It is inspiring to see someone struggle yet still achieve greatness. As I work through my doubts I find comfort in knowing that the people I look up to also struggled when they were at this stage.

Functional Rustic is about sharing my story in an effort to inspire others to realize what they want their story to say. Today when I head out to the barn to start building I am going to focus on creating things that make me smile instead of things that will earn me money.

This new mindset is not going to give me more hours in the day to accomplish what I want to do but, it does get me excited to get something done. More importantly, it properly prepares me to accomplish my goals.

Give me six hours to cut down a tree.png
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

I would love to wrap this post up with an eloquent summary and sage advice but, honestly, I really want to get out in the barn now and start playing with my power tools and pallets.

I may still be experiencing a whirlwind of emotions regarding my introduction to the public but, those emotions are now of determination rather than doubt.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just a blog? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

 

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

 

Mini Chalk Board – Green by Functional Rustic

The Mini Chalk Board by Functional Rustic is the fun and quirky handmade conversation piece you never knew you needed. The mini chalk board is made form repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint/chalkboard paint. Measurements: 19 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in.

$15.00

Posted on 5 Comments

Do Your Research Before Naming Your Business – Functional Rustic Approach

Originally Published March 7, 2018. Updated August 15, 2018.

Do your research. This is good advice for anything but especially when you are naming your business/blog.

Success occurs when opportunity meets preperation
Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.

I did not do my research when I started my blog and have spent the day deleting and editing all of my posts. I am paying my penance for not doing my homework.

The Functional Rustic Blog at www.FunctionalRustic.com was called My Repurposed Life – for about a week. Ha. It was a good week though. The blog is about repurposing negative thoughts into strategies for success and talking about projects I make from repurposing pallets. My Repurposed Life was a great name for that concept.

Once I had the name, My Repurposed Life Blog, and concept I started writing every day. I linked the blog across all my social media platforms. I made different pins for each of the blog entries and shared them like crazy. I even completed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on the new blog. I was very proud of my efforts and what I had accomplished in just a week.

Beautiful girl you were made to do hard things...
Beautiful girl you were made to do hard things so believe in yourself. 

Wanting to see if all my efforts to promote it were working – I googled “My Repurposed Life.” Imagine my surprise when www.MyRepurposedLife.com shows up at the top of the search. It even has the little trademark symbol (TM) next to it. Ugh. (Check it out. Great site. Very much like what I want to do.)

My heart sank. Prior to making that search I was feeling so proud, so productive, so capable. I set a lot of goals that week and achieved them. This google search was going to be the icing on the positivity cake. To continue the metaphor, seeing that trademark symbol was like someone throwing the cake on the floor.

Struggles are required in order to...
Struggles are required in order to survive in life, because in order to stand up, you have to know what falling down is like. 

I knew immediately I was going to be deleting and editing my content. I felt bad for essentially stealing her name and reached out to inform her of what happened. She was great about it. She simply confirmed it was trademarked and that others couldn’t use the name. I let her know I was editing everything to reflect my new found knowledge and we shared a laugh about how lucky I was to find it so early in my blogging.

I was fortunate that I found my mistake early and that she was as understanding as she was. Imagine if she found my page a year later and had to tell me to cease and desist.

I’ve lost an entire day to fixing this. Some of that time was spent doubting everything I have ever created – but most of it was locating and editing content. If it took me a day to re-do one weeks worth of posts imagine how long it would take to re-do a year’s worth.

Lesson of the Day: Do your research. Even if it is just a Google or Bing search, see if anyone else is using the name.

You cant go back and change the beginning
You cannot go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.

UPDATE: The Functional Rustic blog continues to be a success. However, today I am in a similar position as I was when I had to change the name. I am switching blogging platforms from GoDaddy to WordPress and now need to update all of my links. Once again I am going through every blog, image and video I posted in the past year (over 2000) to update the links in order to reflect the platform change.

All of the links I have to GoDaddy are going to be non-existent in October when my contract with them expires. In preparation of allowing the website hosting to end, I am transferring and linking all of my content to WordPress.

Courage is going from failure to failure
Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. 

Fortunately, my experience with the My Repurposed Life/Functional Rustic Blog enables me to know exactly what I need to do now. Considering the amount of work involved in this process, I am grateful that when it came time to do this project I already knew how. Because of my “mistake” before I am not feeling overwhelmed (well, not AS overwhelmed) about the task that lies before me.

UPDATED Lesson of the day: I’ve done this before and I will do it again – better this time.

So far youve survived 100%....
So far, you’ve survived 100% of your worst days. This too shall pass.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just a blog? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

“Bark Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

"Bark Spoken Here" Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

Posted on 10 Comments

When Success Comes to My Door Will I be Prepared to Let It In

Originally published March 6, 2018. Updated August 20, 2018.

what-if-i-fall.jpg

I don’t fear failure as much as I fear success. If I try something and fail – I am right where I started and maybe even learned a lesson. A failed attempt presents no added responsibilities. If I’m successful though, the amount of new responsibilities are yet to be known.

It’s the feeling of not being prepared for success that causes me the most anxiety.

Perfect example of this is something that just happened recently with the Functional Rustic Newsletter.

When I set up the website through GoDaddy.com it provided templates for basic website set up. Included in that template was a “Newsletter” function that enables visitors to submit their email so I can send them the latest content.

I assumed that when visitors submitted their email that I would be notified. I have a lot of areas to focus on when building the business so I put off figuring out the Newsletter until I had an actual subscriber. As is often the case with assumptions, I was wrong.
A few weeks ago I happened to be clicking through the features on my GoDaddy.com account and came across my list of subscribers. I didn’t even know I had a list of subscribers!! I was very excited.

I click the link and find out that I officially have my first and only subscriber. It was a very proud moment for me. I had a reached a goal that I had forgotten I even had. Turns out the first subscriber is a friend of mine.

Now, I’m still feeling quite accomplished – but it is tempered a little by the thought that the one subscriber is my friend that is probably only subscribing to be nice. This is a thought I often have when I look at the Functional Rustic Facebook page. All but one of those followers are already my friends on my personal Facebook. (It was a special day when that ‘stranger’ started following on Facebook too).

I got to thinking though – I have 300+ friends on my personal Facebook and only 35 of them follow Functional Rustic. The over 270 friends that don’t follow Functional Rustic are not unsupportive, wish me ill-will or refuse to do things just to be nice. The people that follow Functional Rustic, even if they do know me personally, do so because they are interested in it.

I invited every one of those 300+ people and the ones that have an interest in what Functional Rustic has to offer joined the community – those that don’t have an interest ignored it. (I’m sure they regret it now, ha).

Instead of minimizing my accomplishment by doubting their motives, I will relish those that share my passion. I will be grateful that I found a topic that at least 35 of my friends can agree on. (That’s a feat in and of itself!)

So, I said I would address the Newsletter once I have a subscriber and now I have one. I have no idea what to write. Lucky me, that one subscriber is a friend that I can actually talk to about it. I contact him immediately and explain that I’m looking for Newsletter ideas. His advice is especially important to me because he is a successful small business owner himself. If anyone can relate and provide guidance about starting a business from nothing – it’s this guy.

He suggested, and I agree, that the Newsletter should be about sharing upcoming events and new products. I now have a plan for the Newsletter, problem solved!

No. Not for me. This is where the problems start. This is when my anxiety begins.
One subscriber leads to two and two lead to thousands. Over night I become beholden to possibly thousands of people. Overnight my responsibilities change. The readers will have questions and comments. Shoppers will love my products and submit orders all at the same time. With all those orders needing to be filled I won’t have time to create new designs and tutorials. My favorite part is engaging with other people – while I’m taking on these new responsibilities my time available for that is diminished. The list goes on.

One subscriber. One.

The task before me may be new, but it is known and therefore can be prepared for.
The fear comes from preparing for the unknown. When success does come to my door – will I be prepared to welcome it in?

Through writing this I have come to realize that being afraid is not a bad thing. In fact – my fear of success is merely a reflection of my desire to remain true to myself even as my circumstances change.

This is no different than one of my projects in the barn – I can repurpose the pallet into a sign or book case but looking at it you know it is just a pallet serving a different purpose.

I look at a pallet and get excited by the repurposing possibilities and the new functions it can perform. I need to transfer that same thinking to repurposing my approach to life.

Instead of fearing the new tasks – view them as new opportunities to repurpose myself to perform another function. My approach may be rough around the edges – but that just makes it rustic. My fears are repurposed into examples of my functionally rustic life.

Lesson of the Day: Instead of seeing my fears as something to be stressed about I will appreciate them as new opportunities to repurpose myself into an even better me.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just a blog? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

Posted on 3 Comments

It’s Awkward Talking About Myself

Originally Published March 3, 2018. Updated August 13, 2018.

Functional Rustic Sign
www.FunctionalRustic.com Handmade Rustic Décor, DIY Tutorials, Quotations and Muscovy Ducks

I have a great service to offer but because I feel awkward promoting myself no one knows about it.

I share daily inspirational quotations and DIY tutorials for a living. My audience is a no-brainer. Anyone who shares/reads quotes regularly and anyone interested in DIY. I have an easily defined audience. Finding people that share these interests is not actually that difficult online.

But, when I see someone who, for example, is posting a bunch of quotes and commenting “this is so me” or “this is exactly what I’m feeling right now” I want to tell them about the hundreds of quotes I have collected and shared.

It should be as simple as saying, “hey, if you like those quotes, you should check out Functional Rustic”. I feel bad about it though. Ugh, this is embarrassing to share. I feel like I’m taking advantage of someone by seeing them in distress and then promoting my business to them.

I realize the point of the website is to be a source of inspiration for people in that exact situation – but because I am trying to make money off Functional Rustic, it feels like my suggestion to visit the site is more advertising than support.

It reminds me of asking people to donate to a charity. I may believe in the cause but, I don’t want to ask my friends for money.

The thing of it is, the only way I make money is if someone buys something in my shop. Also, the main focus of Functional Rustic is to provide inspiration to as many people as possible.  Promoting Functional Rustic in anyway is helpful for both the public and me.

But Functional Rustic is me, and it’s awkward talking about myself.

Follow Functional Rustic on Social Media for the latest content.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just a blog? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

Posted on 1 Comment

How Often Should I Post Blogs – Functional Rustic Approach

Originally published March 7, 2018. Updated August 8, 2018. 

How Often to Post Blogs .png
Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it! How Often Should I Post Blogs – A Functional Rustic Approach.

I’ve started my own DIY blog but I don’t know how often I should post my tutorials. Right now I have a lot of time on my hand because its too cold to work in the barn. (That’s a lie. I mean, it is 20 degrees….but I could easily bundle up and start breaking down pallets and building things. But it is the excuse I’m using today) Because I’m not building all day I have more time to write.

The extra time has enabled me to start the Functional Rustic blog that talks about my day to day obstacles and successes while starting my own DIY business.

(UPDATE: when I first published this piece 5 months ago my blog was called My Repurposed Life. However, someone else already has a trademark on that name. I did not know about her trademark until I had published several blogs under that title. I had to go back and edit every link I had that used her trademarked name. She was really nice about it. I saw the error and informed her of my mistake and my plans to remedy the situation long before she knew I even existed. However, if you ever see something from Functional Rustic that also promotes my original My Repurposed Life blog, please let me know so I can delete the link. But learn from my mistakes when you start your blog and do your research before you publish. She too published tutorials – check ’em out here.)

It is easy to share my thoughts daily – and I don’t need a schedule for that – but I don’t know yet how often to post my tutorials.

I posted a tutorial this morning and plan to write two more today. My impulse is to post it immediately but, I am trying to establish some sort of schedule for myself regarding publishing content. That way my readers can depend on me for quality, timely content.

Ok – so this post was intended to ask you how often I should post. However, in the process of asking for your advice, I think I figured out what I need to do.

Plan: Post DIY tutorials weekly – Friday. That way people can complete that week’s DIY project over the weekend. I can write tutorials as I think of them and just save them for publication on a weekly schedule.

To think….I have been trying to decide this question for a week or so now – but not until I reached out to get feedback from others did I realize my solution.

Lesson of the day: Put a voice to your questions and they will be answered.

Follow Functional Rustic on Social Media for the latest content.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Posted on 5 Comments

I’m Not a Failure, I’m a Badass – Functional Rustic Approach

Originally Published March 18, 2018. Updated August 7, 2018.

I'm not a failure, im a bad ass title page.png
I’m Not a Failure, I’m a Bad Ass – A Functional Rustic Approach. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

It’s 7:30 am….the sun is officially up. I used to have until 8 am before it got light outside. I’m surprised at how much the sun rising early is impacting my feeling of productivity.

I start “working” around 6 am. I sit in the dark – only the lap top to light the room – and I make pins or edit pictures until the sun comes up. That used to be 8 am. With sun up-and-at-’em by 7:30 (and only to get earlier as the year continues) I am not accomplishing what I used to by sunrise.

Obviously, the solution is to change my expectations. Instead of accomplishing tasks by sunrise – complete them by 8 am, for instance. But that’s not how my brain works.

Logically – I have a very realistic and effective solution.

Emotionally – “I’m lazy”, “I get distracted too easily”, “I’m never going to accomplish my goals.”

It’s difficult for me to write this. I view myself as a confident, capable, positive person. I want to be viewed as such. When thoughts/feelings like this come over me though it can be difficult to shake the ‘stinkin thinkin’.

I generally keep these thoughts to myself for a few reasons.

First, what if people make fun of me for sharing? Specifically, what if people use the fears I have expressed against me or as a way to harm me? What if I post this and people comment, “You ARE lazy and will never accomplish anything.” Realistically, people wont say that AND/OR if someone did I would likely just think, “well that guy’s an asshole”. None the less, the fear is there.

Second, if I tell you that I have insecurities you may be less inclined to see me as confident, capable and positive. The fear is that if you know my struggle you will no longer view me as an authority figure on positivity or accomplishing goals.

Third, friends and family will read it and worry about me. I don’t want that. And it isn’t necessary, doubts are normal. The interest in my well being is appreciated – but I hate the idea that someone is exerting energy and time worrying about me – I don’t want to worry people. I want to inspire people.

Fourth, people will treat me different because I am “going through” something. This thought process causes me the most inner conflict. I have chronic pain and nausea plus anxiety and depressive symptoms. I don’t want people to edit their words or actions around me simply because I am dealing with those issues – but at the same time if I am struggle to accomplish something I want them to keep in mind all the physical/psychological factors I am overcoming to complete that task.

My “issues” are not intended as an excuse for not doing things or a request to receive higher praise for completing tasks while coping with them – but rather they are presented to highlight my success. For those that don’t deal with physical or psychological issues daily they are less appreciative of the effort taken by those that do.

For example, I injured my right elbow (I’m a righty) just before the holidays last year. I couldn’t hold a cup of coffee much less a hammer to build anything. However, it was supposed to be a DIY Christmas so I needed to make gifts. It took me a week to accomplish what normally would be completed in a day. Of course I was disappointed in how long it took me, but then I thought about what I had to do to achieve that. I built and painted all of those gifts with one arm – my ‘weak’ arm at that. Plus, the workshop is in the barn and the barn averaged a temperature of 20 degrees F. Now, instead of viewing those gifts as “taking too long to complete” I see them as “Look what I built with one arm and in freezing weather”.

I’m not a failure – I’m a bad ass.

As I’m reading through this I am reminded of a quote I saw recently.

You had a purpose before anyone had an opinion.jpg
You had a purpose before anyone had an opinion

In case you didn’t notice – there is a theme to the negative thinking I am experiencing. I am assessing myself based on the opinion of others – and not even what they actually say, but rather what I think they may say. I don’t want to be a person with these insecurities; I especially don’t want others to view me as an insecure person.

But these “insecurities” are what make me who I am – they are actually my strengths. I ‘beat myself up’ for not accomplishing goals on schedule because I have standards for myself. That may not seem like much for some people, but having high expectations for Functional Rustic (it’s basically an extension of me at this point) is a big deal for me. I excel at completing things for other people – but historically I have struggled with doing it for myself.

This post feels very “woe is me” but is actual an example of positive thinking in action. When I began writing I was feeling pretty shitty – but now I am optimistic again. Instead of just dwelling on my Stinkin Thinkin I wrote it down. As I wrote it I saw how fucked up it was – and how illogical my thoughts were. I am also reminded of when I was a mental health therapist – every client shared similar thoughts. I learned countless lessons hearing how my clients conquered their fears – and maybe you will learn helpful lessons too by joining me on my journey towards repurposing my life.

Follow Functional Rustic on social media for daily inspiration.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just a blog? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

“Mrs & Mrs/True Love” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Mrs & Mrs/True Love” 2 sided Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

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How Can I Share the Sunrise over Functional Rustic?

How can I share the sunset title page.png

I am fortunate to be able to share the sunrise each day with my best friend, Valencia Merble the Dog, and my feather babies, the Muscovy Ducks of Functional Rustic. It is easy in the hectic pace of every day life to forget to stop and take the time to appreciate the beauty and awe that is all around us.

Pallet Palmer Park
The Functional Rustic Barn.

I intend to inspire others to take a minute each day to appreciate the beauty of nature and the joy that comes with watching the sun rise on a brand new day. I already share minute long videos every morning on Social Media of the sunrise over the Functional Rustic Barn but recently I entertained the idea of sharing a blog post to go with each of the videos I record.

Val w Ducks in Barn
Valencia Merble the Dog #valchog laying in the barn with the Muscovy Ducks of Functional Rustic

Within the first 24 hours of my new goal to write a daily blog to accompany my videos I learned why this was not a good idea for me. Ha.

I enjoy taking videos of the amazing sights and sounds around. I also really enjoy sharing stories of the birds around the property and the dog playing with wildlife. These activities promote relaxation and mindfulness. These activities encourage me to spend time in nature and around animals. All of these benefits are great for promoting good mental health.

That being said – I want to live my life, not document it. I want to share sights and sounds that inspire me and bring me peace on a daily basis. I wanted my new audience in the blog community to be able to experience the daily dose of nature the same as my social media audience does. That was why I intended to upload videos daily and share the stories behind them.

And then it hit me – my new website through WordPress enables me to add widgets to the sidebar that display my social media feed!! By adding the widget to the site my readers now have access to all my video posts without having to create another social media account.

Look to the right to see the social media widget on your computer or at the bottom of the page on your phone or tablet.

I upload sun rise videos to social media immediately after filming. If I followed through with my initial plan to write a blog about the sunrise and quirky things the Muscovy Ducks did that morning – that sunrise video wouldn’t be seen by my readers until late morning or early afternoon.

(For example, this blog post was supposed to be a quick paragraph explaining why I’m not publishing my videos in a blog every day and that they could instead be found in the side bar. Hey look, I didn’t even need a whole paragraph. Ha. Needless to say, I have a lot to say and a quick blog post is not likely.)

Lesson of the Day: Work smarter not harder.

My goal was to provide daily inspiration to my blog readers through sharing videos of the ducks and the sunrise over my back pasture every morning. Writing a blog telling the stories of the morning and describing every photo and video is the “hard” way to achieve that goal. Adding a widget to the side bar that displays all the videos in real time is the smarter approach to my goal. The smart way lets you see the sunrise as it’s rising.

Also adding to the ‘smarter not harder’ lesson – I identified early that my new idea was not as effective as I wanted and I immediately did something about it. This is a new concept for me. Ha.

Usually, I get an idea in my head for how something should be accomplished and will insist on that approach even long after it has proven harmful to myself. I do this because the world has taught me that hard work is stressful so the more stressed you are the harder you must be working.

It’s a faulty and unhealthy way of thinking. The new me, the person I am intentionally becoming, no longer needs to be stressed out to feel like I accomplished something. I will no longer simply work harder – I will work smarter.

You can work smarter not harder too by following Functional Rustic on WordPress and visiting the Functional Rustic page each day to share the morning sunrise with Valencia Merble the Dog and the Muscovy Ducks and Bronze Turkey of Functional Rustic.

You don't know this new me; I put back my pieces differently.
You don’t know this new me; I put back my pieces differently.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just a blog? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Silver

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

 

 

“Bark Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

"Bark Spoken Here" Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

Posted on 2 Comments

Finding Accountability When I’m the Boss – Functional Rustic Approach

Originally Published on February 28, 2018. Updated on August 6, 2018.

I am not a product of my circumstances...
I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions.

I’m a small business owner so no one tells me what to do. Sounds great, but without anyone to tell me what to do I don’t know what to do.

I am finding that the lack of accountability to someone else is one of my greatest obstacles. I set goals for myself and achieve them proudly, but are my goals the “right” goals for growing my business? Without someone else to talk to about this I get lost in my thoughts – my fears.

Having someone tell me what the expectations are for the day or week is very helpful for me. I always had a great deal of independence in my jobs, but there was always a specific goal and an understood means of accomplishing it.

Example: Goal – Help people cope with their mental illness. As a social worker I accomplished this task by working in an out patient mental health clinic as a therapist. I had a detailed job description (even if it did not detail ALL of my responsibilities), empirically tested approaches to treatment, colleagues to conference with and patients right in front of me to provide feedback on successes and failures. On top of that, I had supervisors making sure I am completing necessary paperwork and submitting them on deadlines.

These are things that irritated me when I was an employee. “I know how to do my job, leave me alone!” And I did know how to do my job – but that’s because someone taught me. Most importantly, I had other people to lean on. If I didn’t know how best to document something – I could ask someone. If I was doubting my capabilities – a coworker could set me straight.

Well, I’m the only person here. Also, I work from home so I don’t even have strangers to interact with during the day. It’s incredibly frustrating, and lonely.

I need someone to bounce ideas off of. Or at the very least, someone to blurt out ideas to in the hopes that one of us will remember that super creative idea. It’s not so much that I doubt the quality of my work – but rather that I don’t know if my efforts are getting the results I want. (To provide inspiration and support to others that are building their dreams with what they have in front of them.)

And, as the only person here I have no one to assess what tasks are priorities. Everything I do for Functional Rustic is important. What needs to be done today? What tasks need to be done first and which can be delayed?

Do I create new pieces or build up the inventory I already have? Do I write a blog about my thinking process or a DIY tutorial blog. What pictures will I need for the blog? Do those pics have the website on it yet? What are the proper tags and descriptions to put on each photo so search engines find it? How often should I be updating my Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Am I posting enough content to Facebook, DIY Projects of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Medium and YouTube? Am I linking to all my social media accounts when I write blogs? How much time should I be spending on each activity. Oh, and did I mention that I am learning all of this as I go so each task involves hours of research on how to complete it effectively?

I could go on and on.

The hope is that the Functional Rustic Blog will help me focus my energies. If I tell you, the reader, I am going to accomplish certain tasks – I will. With so many tasks to complete it is easy to not do one thing but still feel productive because I accomplished other objectives. However, that thing I didn’t do – still isn’t done. I work under the assumption that people are reading my content and that if I say I’m going to post something by the end of the week – that reader will expect to see it by the end of the week.

So, I’m putting it out there – putting myself out there. Either no one reads this – and I’m exactly where I was before writing it OR people do read it and either like or don’t like it. But at least I have feedback. AND – I now have someone to be accountable to.

Today’s Lesson: Just because you are the only employee doesn’t mean you can’t have accountability.

Follow Functional Rustic on Social Media for the latest content.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just a blog? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Gold

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

 

 

“Mr & Mr/True Love” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Mr & Mr/True Love” 2 side Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00